Older adults’ gambling motivation and problem gambling: A comparative study

Abstract

Gambling participation rates among older adults (65+ years) have been increasing in recent years. Very few studies have compared older and younger gamblers on gambling motivation and problem gambling. This study compared 41 male and 63 female older gamblers (66-87 years; median 73) to 20 male and 85 female younger gamblers (17-34 years; median 20) in New Zealand on gambling involvement, gambling motives and number of gambling related problems in the previous 12 months. The questionnaire included the Gambling Motivation Scale (GMS) and the Revised South Oaks Gambling Screen (SOGS-R) of current problem gambling. There were between-group age differences but no significant gender or gender by age interaction effects. While older adults had significantly lower scores on all the measures, except they gambled more frequently, for both groups frequency of gambling, number of activities, largest amount spent in a single session and all motives were correlated with SOGS-R scores. Preferences for electronic gaming machines and bingo were related to SOGS-R scores for both age groups. Hierarchical regression analysis showed that after statistically controlling for age, gambling involvement and other motives, tension release uniquely predicted SOGS-R scores. For both age groups, increasing severity of problem gambling is more likely to be associated with releasing tension than with winning money or seeking sensation

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